Guest Author - Carol Viau
It is not often I enjoy sitting still. The exceptions would be; to read, surf the internet, watch a movie, or to eat. While other situations force me to sit still, such as work and driving, the rest of my time is ideally spent in motion. Injuries have a way of forcing us to slow down, considerably. Here are ways to be active within the constraints of a hand injury if you, like me, have one.
If you require surgery, the following several days will be a bit of a blur. You CAN rest and you will want to sleep as much as possible. To stay hydrated, I suggest placing a camelback filled with water within reach of your bed, or on the bed. It is easier to have someone fill it for you, but I did manage to do this myself. When feeling better, you CAN wean yourself off of the painkillers and you CAN watch movies and read. This is where you CAN also call friends and ask them to drop off movies for you.
You CAN also help yourself by keeping your hand elevated as much as possible the first week. If watching a movie, lie down on the couch and place a pillow under your hand so it is elevated above your heart. Placing an ice pack around the bandage or cast with an ace bandage is also necessary. Both steps will help alleviate pain. Continue this regime throughout the night.
By day five or six, you may get cabin fever. You CAN get out of the house. I took myself for drive to one of the local ski areas to watch music being played outside at the base of the mountain. It does wonders for your psyche to get out of the house.
You CAN shower, albeit it’s not easy. Assistance from a friend or loved one will be necessary to help you place the cast protector over your arm before you get wet. They can also help you take it off when you are done. I recently had the idea of going to the hairdresser to have them wash my long hair for me. She charged me $3. Best money ever spent.
Depending on your job, you CAN go back to work in a week. While I am unable to work my manual labor job due to this injury, I am able to work my office job. Having a cast on does make it challenging to type on the keyboard, but I am getting thru it with some adjustments (lowering keyboard tray, lowering seat, etc…). My thoughtful co-worker also tied a ribbon to the shelf above my desk, so I can place my arm in it at intervals to reduce throbbing.
By week two, you may be bored of movies and books and ready to exercise. You CAN exercise, but chances are that your doctor has given you limitations (be sure to ask). I was told no running or jostling motion for a month. I started with hiking a butte near my house. Now that the weather has deteriorated, I am in the gym riding the bike and trying to do leg and stomach exercises while keeping my casted hand elevated.
Injuries can be difficult, but there are ways to work around them. You CAN do a lot more than you think and a positive state of mind is helpful. On the bright side, you probably won’t be able to help with doing dishes for awhile. Is that so bad?